With Liverpool already dropping points, Spurs had a chance to be clinical last Saturday at Wembley, but failed to defeat a weak Swansea side and dropped points themselves. Hot off back to back wins, Tottenham Hotspur couldn’t finish of the week in perfect fashion. While the last two years haven’t had an early triumph like Spurs victory over Dortmund, the team is basically in the same position they’ve been in come late September — a few points on the board, some decent football here and there, but frustrating draws and losses that leave a pit in the stomach.
Not only did Liverpool drop points, but so did Chelsea and Arsenal in their 0-0 draw Sunday morning. At this point, only the two Manchester sides are really taking care of business in a convincing manner. They sit tied at the top of the table with thirteen points, Chelsea is in third place with ten points, surprise Newcastle has three wins already with nine points in fourth, while Spurs are tied with about half the league on eight points — though they are technically fifth with goal differential.
Tottenham’s opponents for the first game of the Saturday slate is West Ham United. If anything the Hammers are really good at hating Spurs and treat every single encounter with the lilywhites like its a cup final. We are flattered West Ham, really, but stop attempting to link your mediocrity to our obvious greatness.
The East London club have been poor to start the season. They got thumped by United in the first match of the season, though hasn’t everyone whose played them so far? Their other results are more telling though, a 3-2 loss to Southhampton isn’t bad, but a draw to West Brom isn’t great, and a 3-0 defeat to Newcastle is embarrassing.
The Hammers brought in some decent players this summer; most notably Chicharito, Marko Arnautovic, Pablo Zabaleta, and Joe Hart, but this hasn’t translated to an attractive product on the field. West Ham are playing with three in the back and two wing-backs (quite the en vouge formation in the Prem) and certainly have some seasoned Premier League defenders in the lot in Winston Reid, James Collins, Pablo Zabaleta, and Jose Fonte. With Joe Hart in net the experience is certainly there, but is the quality at this point in all of their careers?
Andy Carroll is healthy, which probably won’t last for too long, but the big Englishman can be formidable on his day. Chicharito too is somewhat of a hit or miss, but has the talent to bust the back of the net if given the opportunity. Its West Ham’s midfield though which is unconvincing. Both Cheikhou Kouyaté and the ageless Westworld robot Mark Noble are dependable, but there just simply isn’t any creative flair in their midfield to unlock defenses on a consistent basis. They have suffered since Dimitri Payet’s departure and while they signed some decent players over the summer, none of those players remotely resemble the type of player Payet was and that type of player continues to be sorely missed in East London.
These games are never boring and West Ham and their fanbase will bring the fire to the London Stadium.
How to Watch
Date/time: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. (UK), 7:30 a.m. ET (USA)
Venue: London Stadium, London, UK
Official: Michael Oliver
TV: NBCSN (NBC Sports Live), Sky Sports UK, Sky Sports Premier League, BBC Radio 5 Live (UK), TSN1, TSN4, TSN5, TSNGO (Canada), Optus Sport, SBS, SBS live (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
On the injury front we can remove Georges-Kevin Nkoudou from the deck, but Erik Lamela, Victor Wanyama, and Danny Rose remain injured. Menno wrote an article about Erik Lamela’s injury status yesterday, yet the song remains the same for these three.
Kieran Trippier started back to back matches, which wonderful if you want Serge Aurier to get his first start. I definitely do, so this is welcome news. The curious question for Saturday’s lineup though is who will partner with Eric Dier in center midfield. Moose is the preferred choice, but he started against Barnsley, which was weird, so it throws his status to start in doubt. Moussa Sissoko has been the primary option to spell our aging Belgian, yet he’s actually started the last two games. Finally, Harry Winks got the start on Tuesday so maybe he is in contention.
I think Sissoko is out — three games in eight days is a lot, especially with healthy back-ups, while every time I’ve chosen Moose to start two games in a row, I’ve been dead wrong. For these reasons I’m left with future Spurs legend Harry Winks to start in the attacking half of the double pivot. Sonny has also started three consecutive games, so I’ll give him a rest.
My lineup then is as follows: Hugo in net, Aurier and Davies as wing-backs, and Janbyson Sanchalderweirtongen forming the back three. Winks will join Aurier in getting their first Premier League starts of the year as Harry will partner with Eric Dier in midfield. Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, and Harry Kane will form the attack to round out the 3-4-3 formation.
With a 2-1 Spurs victory, Joel Wertheimer was the only masthead member to not predict a blowout. Nobody though was brazen enough to pick anything but a Spurs win. Not one thing changes in the table as Menno, Patrick, and Earl of Shoop still share the spoils.
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings 2017-18
|Earl of Shoop||3|
Dustin Menno: The London Stadium is dour and lifeless. So are West Ham. Unfortunately, we don’t do well at their place. Ugh, I hate this game already. 1-1 draw.
Jake Meador: I hate this fixture. So freaking much. Life is dumb. West Ham 1-0.
Matthew Pachniuk: West Ham isn't too much better than Swansea, but to their detriment they'll actually try to play. Serge Aurier will start, which means we'll have our surest starting eleven in the Premier League this season. 2-0 Spurs.
GN Punk: I'd rather see this match played in an empty park instead of the soulless place that is London Stadium. 2-1 Spurs.
Skipjack: West Ham think they are really coming up in the world and potentially able to replace teams that have been traditional powers but they keep falling short. Its stunning that anyone still has faith in their ability to do this. You wonder if people who believe in their ability to supplant long time favorites are delusional or just stupid. 2-1 Spurs.
Earl of Shoop: My baby ate my witty jokes. Spurs 2-1
Ed F: I predict that the North-East London team will beat the East London team in this tie at the London Stadium. 3-0 Spurs.
Salmon Chase: I wasn't paying attention to the fixture list this week and couldn't figure out why I've had stomach cramps for days until I realized we were playing west ham away. Explains everything. Now based entirely on the frequency of the cramps I'm predicting at this moment a scoreless draw, but that could change as we move towards the weekend.
Pardeep Cattry: West Ham are not good. Tottenham 3-0.
Alex Greenberg: TBD
Nathan Giannini: I hate this fixture so much. West Ham wins 1-0, commemorative DVD costs £9.99.
Joe Patrick: This is a tough one, normally I'd predict a narrow loss for us, but WEST HAM ARE SO BAD. 2-0 Spurs.
Joel Wertheimer: West Ham are bad and bad at preventing good shots. Spurs are good. 3-1 Spurs.